Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Musings - 9th Jan, 2012

I tried a little bit or reversion to old gaming habits this week. A side effect of that is that Zelda is on the shelf for the foreseeable future. With that out of the way, let us muse!

Serious Sam 3: BFE (PC)

On the final day of the Steam Christmas sale, I picked this up for $20. I've played a couple hours co-op with a friend, and have joined a couple servers with strangers. The game is classic Serious Sam fun, with the addition of instant melee kills, provided you can get close enough to pull them off (and of course, the graphics are new and shiny). Sadly a lot of the servers I joined have what I consider to be rules that take away the fun, like 1 life per person per level or just a couple. It's not that i'm against this level of challenge, but this seems to be the norm, and to explain my dislike I have to go into some history for a moment.

The original Serious Sam was a gaming favourite back in my LAN days. Around the turn of the century (man I love saying that), I was heavily involved in the Gold Coast LAN scene, of which there were two big LANs, Frags and Gameserve. The clan I joined, Atomic was friend to both, and while Frags was a personal favourite, the most fun were at our own Atomic LANs. Our clan was never the best at the most popular competitive games of the time like Counter-Strike or Quake 3 (although I could hold my own in Unreal Tournament), so instead we had a reputation for other games like Worms, Rune, Insane, and a co-op favourite being Serious Sam.

The first couple times we played we cranked the difficulty to its highest, gave ourselves unlimited lives, and plowed through. As you can imagine, after a couple completions this got boring. To make things more interesting, we left the difficulty where it was and instead gave each of us 20 lives, and then we saw how far we could make it. Mad fun.

So that's my problem. Having not completed the game or exhausted my enjoyment of plowing through hoards of enemies, the limited life stipulation feels like a serious hindrance... especially such limited life. I mean one or three lives doesn't even give you the chance to get started.

Still, the game itself is enjoyable. I just wish more of my friends would buy it so we can have some epic co-op fun (and get someone with a much better connection to host it).

League of Legends (PC)

So I finally took the plunge. A friend tried to get me into the game in 2010 but Summoner's Rift seemed like the learning curve was too steep. I decided to give LoL another try after hearing about the Domination mode. Capture and hold points? Average game time of twenty minutes? Sounds good to me. Especially that i've been annoyed about not being able to game everyday. Domination mode has solved that problem nicely.

I hit level five over the weekend and still know pretty much jack about the game, but I am familiar with most of the free to play champions at the moment, and I can play a couple of them decently (I had an amazing run with Caitlyn the other night). The most important skill i've learned is how crucial not going it alone is (well at least if you're a support or damage class). There is indeed safety in numbers. It just seems that with people speaking other languages and a lot of immaturity, communication is not your greatest asset in these games (even though it is). Perhaps playing with friends is a more pleasant experience.

Ah well, it doesn't dampen my fun. The games are short enough to not worry about winning and losing all that much, and hell, i'm still learning how to play. I can see myself sticking with this one for a while.

El Shaddai (PS3)

One of the games on my must play list for 2011. I'm only a couple hours in but I can see this making my best of last year list if I hadn't already written it up. The game has vision, a very unique vision. From the story to the visuals to the soundtrack. This is an experience unlike anything i've played or witnessed of late.

To tell the truth, it feels like a Suda51 game. It's style over substance... but what style! And it's not that the gameplay is utterly terrible. It's just fairly simplistic. Perhaps that's a good thing though. You travel through the platforming and all the fights without too much bother, taking in the visual feast in front of you and following this odd pre-bible Christianity mythos that never gives you enough information, maintaining an aura of mystery around what's going on (which is a good way to approach story... to a point).

I could see the repetition of the level design for each stage of the tower you're climbing becoming more stale as the hours go by, but I hope not. Nevertheless, we shall see, and I shall report.

Final Thoughts

I haven't got a good idea for the Final Thoughts section this (it happens when I take a break when writing these and come back hours later). To keep you going, here's a medley of some of the awesome music from Megaman 2 by The Minibosses

Till next week, happy gaming all!

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